EPA Inspector General: Covid-19 could affect agency’s ability to communicate health risks to communities

Covid-19 could hamper the EPA’s ability to inform communities of health risks, according to a report released this month from the agency’s Office of Inspector General. Specifically, the inspector general’s office worried the EPA might not be able to inform residents who live near facilities with emissions that could cause cancer. In a separate report from late March, the office urged EPA to take “prompt action” to inform communities. As of the March report, the EPA and state agencies had not met with or reached out to residents around 16 of the 25 “high-priority” facilities, which are located primarily around cities in the South and Midwest. The June report detailed other concerns, including personnel shortages and cutbacks to routine inspections. 

The EPA did not respond to a request for comment.

Andrew Rehn of the Prairie Rivers Network presents the report 'Cap and Run: Toxic Coal Ash Left Behind by Big Polluters Threatens Illinois Water' at a news conference at the Illinois state capitol building in Springfield

Report shows toxic contamination at coal ash sites throughout Illinois

A new report published by several state environmental groups shows severe pollution of groundwater at nearly every known coal ash storage site in Illinois.

The report states that groundwater tests show unsafe levels of toxic chemicals and heavy metals at 22 of 24 Illinois coal-fired power plants. The tests were done by the companies that own the sites, collated by the environmental groups, and released this week.

GAO Report: changes needed if key EPA program is to help fulfill the nation’s water quality goals

In December of 2013, the Government Accountability Office released a report that highlighted a flawed Environmental Protection Agency water-conservation program. It also summarized the overall state of U.S. water bodies.

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting used the report to jump start an investigation into how the agriculture industry affects water quality

As food demands rise, farmers struggle with water conservation

As the global demand for food rises, farmers have to accordingly increase production. However, in some cases, that increased production can be harmful for the environment. A recent report by the Government Accountability Office provided a glimpse of the state of U.S. water bodies. Among its findings, the report stated that it would take one thousand years to reverse the damage done by agricultural runoff and other forms of nonpoint-source pollution.